Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

Palm Beach, FL – Payment Alliance International (PAI) has joined the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) to provide less expensive credit card processing of martial arts student billing, special events, and equipment purchases. According to MATA Executive Director, John Graden, “PAI has the advantage of a good reputation and some of the lowest credit card fees we’ve seen. Debit cards for under 1% and credit cards under 2.5% are very attractive to school owners. Plus, the machine is free.” With the shift from martial arts student billing companies to DIY billing, Graden sees this as the next evolution in school management. Graden says, “With PAI’s recurring billing, tuition is withdrawn automatically each month. This is ideal for owners who want to maintain a direct relationship with their students when it comes to the sensitive subject of tuition collections rather than leaving it up to a third party at a martial arts student billing company.”

The Associations and Strategic Partnerships Manager for PAI, Richard Klein said, “I’ve been training in Wing Chun Gung Fu for 25 years. When PAI wanted to reach out to the martial arts, I knew John Graden’s and MATA would be the perfect fit for martial arts student billing.”

PAI works with other major associations like the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), the National Rifle Association Business Alliance, and the America Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD) among others.

More information is available at

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Richard Klein
Associations and Strategic Partnerships Manager
Payment Alliance
(561) 899-1702

John Graden
Executive Director
Martial Arts Teachers’ Association

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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